Sarenco, magazine director

It's difficult to talk about Sarenco without mentioning his multisided cultural activities.
Sarenco is stirring, a cultural provoker, an active volcano.
Since the beginning his poetical activity is marked by strong, and in some ways uncontainable, organizational boost that has found a reason in founding ad directing magazines, galleries, publishing, festivals, international exhibitions, cultural centres, biennales.
All these activities are an integral part of his poetic production, are one with it
From this point of view, his magazines, his galleries, his festivals have to be considered real works of art. And the films, the videos, the performances as well.
Sarenco succeeded, during his long activity, in expressing his life as a work of art.
The anecdotes, the rumours, the historical events and the lies. The lawsuits, tha marriages and the affairs, that fill his life and work, seem to follow a sophisticated script designed by a great director.
Never as in his case, life and art have confused, organised, supported one another.
Sarenco, as Enrico Mascelloni has reminded many times in his writings, is a warrior poet, or a guerrilla poet, who made, of battle, war, controversy, fight, his poetics.
A poetics that gains possession of all the violence and all the battle techniques dear to the dada-surrealist, and then situationist, tradition.
And the magazines, starting with Maintenant by Artthur Cravanm are rightfully part of this tradition. On second thought, they are perhaps the most representative example, for the materiality of the support itself destined to preservation and memory, if not for anything else.
In several interviews and in many writings, Sarenco stated that the publishing of magazines is the most interesting and satisfying activity for a poet, especially if the magazine is produced and funded independently.
The eso-publishing offers the poet the only real chance to free and independent expression.
The artist magazine, with its features of handycraft, clandestinity, urgence of communication, active political and poetical commitment, becomes a true creative laboratory, where ideas, impressions and experimentations find the way come to life, to settle and to circulate immediately amongst poets and artists, natural recipients of publication itself.
The magazine is, in militant revolutionary and guerrilesque conceiving that Sarenco has of art, the most suitable and most effective instrument.
And we can trust him, because of the huge amount of published magazines and books, the quantity of controversies and the theoretical and judicial lawsuits that follow the assertions hurled from the pages of his magazines and books.
Sarenco begins his poetic activity in 1961, with the production of linear poems, but in 1963 he already starts his production of visual poetry.
In the same year Sarenco founded and directed hhis first magazine: Il Tarlo Valsabbino.
Between 1966 and 1968 Sarenco exhibits his work, getting in touch with Gillo Dorfles, Ugo Carrega, Eugenio Miccini, Julien Blaine, Jean-Fran├žois Bory.
He takes part in the historical demostration in Fiumalbo organised by Adriano Spatola: Parole sui muri.
Again in 1968 he meets Joseph BBeuys, he starts a correspondance with Jochen Gerz and Jean-Claude Moineau.
In Brescia, he establishes first, the Galleria-Libreria La Comune, together with Enrico Pedrotti, and then the magazine Amodulo and the consequent Amodulo Editions.
In 1969, during the festival organised by Eugenio MIccini at the Cascine of Firenze, Sarenco meets Paul De Vree with whom he had been in contact via mail for some years.
He contributed in fact to De Tafelronde, the poetry magazine founded by the Belgian poet in 1953.
The encounter gave life to a chain of strong collaborations that carried out two essential historical events: the organisation of collective exhibition of visual international poetry, at the Studio Santandrea in Milan, and the establishing of a new magazine.
Lotta Poetica has been born in 1971, as a direct consequence of this encounter and the friendship that resulted, between the two poets.
This is the most important magazine that Sarenco has started and directed. Visual poetry will find in it a strong means of international relevance and distribution. The will that Sarenco, De Vree and Miccini put in directing the magazine, brought to impose it as a perfect official organ of the movement and made it one of the more long lasting avant-garde magazine of the XX century.
Thanks to its three series (1971/1975; 1982/1984 and 1987) Lotta Poetica passes undefeated through two decades, remaining absolutely faithful to its purposes of struggle declared in the title.
A well respectable undertaking, if we consider the eighties.
In spite of the commitment spent in directing Lotta Poetica, Sarenco succeeded in producing two more magazines in the same years, Factotum (1977/1979) and Radio Taxi (1982/1984).
The last one, is an editorial activity that is unique in its kind, in the Italian panorama.
If we do not consider the Cramps Editions, which have dedicated part of their catalogue to the publication of audio documents of some avantgarde poets and artists (especially in Multhipla collection connected to Multhipla Editions, Milan), Radio Taxi is the only magazine collection of records entirely dedicated to the experimental avantgarde poetry published in Italy.
Which is even more outstanding, because it refers to two poets' will, Sarenco and Franco Verdi, both committed to the given area of research. It is to be reminded that Sarenco was not new to the publishing of audio documents.
In fact, at the beginning of the seventies, with the Amodulo Editions, he had already published a compilation of four tapes of soundpoetry published in a hundred numbered and signed copies.
Not happy, again in the eighties, dark years, Sarenco opens in Illasi, near Verona, the Domus Jani. One of the most interesting and stirring cultural research places, within the Italian panorama of that period, and he found, with Miccini, one of the most absurd magazines that can be connected to avantgarde: Verona Voce. Il mensile intelligente di Verona.
A tabloid sized magazine, on sale at newsstands, that is an hybrid, an allucinated experiment that gathers on the pages interviews of Beuys, Nitsch; interviews-attacks to the councillor responsible for the Culture of Verona; reportages on wine producers, or on the restaurants of the district; digressions on laces and embroideries; proposals of turistic cultural itineraries.
An absolutely unique magazine, different, improbable, that will as well be advertised with a TV commercial, to my knowledge the only example of an advertisement made by a contemporary artist to support his own magazine.
Then, in the late eighties, he begins to go regularly to Africa. But to the visual poet, the vast continent is not a place for holidays. Or to rest.
The opposite. It is a place to be discovered, a place of activity, and of cultural struggle.
From the very beginning, he starts to set a paced dialogue between tha African artistic avanguardes and the European ones, by then well established.
Several are in fact the collaborations between African artists and the artists of Sarenco's entourage.
As a consequence, again, magazines (Sarenco's; Poesia Visiva), cultural centres (The European Archive of Artist Film and Video), book collections (Laser Edition; Rara International; Safaribooks; Nomadnomad) and again the organisation of important exhibitions (Poesia Visiva e dintorni. L'ultima avanguardia a Spoleto; Poesia Totale a Mantova; the First Contemporary art Biennial of Malindi).
A constant involvement, that of Sarenco, it is inconceivable to reduce it to a mere aspect of his character.
There is something more in all this.
There's the need of making every action of his, each initiative, an undetachable and coherent part of a wider poetical picture.
A poetry that finds in the possibility to act on reality, by the use of any means, its most intimate truth.
What our Brescian poet is always aiming at with his art, is to modify reality, shake minds, upset ways of looking at reality.
And in this programme, magazines have always played a relevant role.
A series of magazines, those of Sarenco, that we may define - following the teaching of Luigi Pintor - as Leninist.
That is to say mass-political magazines, all having the objective of enforcing or establishing a party (to be here taken in the broadest sense).
Magazines that have an urgency, and that are instruments of agitation, even when teeming with ideas.
They are magazines of battle, strongly defines by the historical moment, by the ideology and political involvement that permeate any cultural activity of the Brescian artist.
Magazines that today could not even exist.

(Translated by Fancesca Piazza)